Starting with Food: Culinary Approaches to Ottoman History

Publication Year



Food is a marker of identity, culture, and class, and it denotes power, routine, leisure, and celebration. Despite its importance to every aspect of historical research, this topic has not been sufficiently explored in Ottoman history. This volume places the study of food in the mainstream of Ottoman history by analizing major issues--origins, identity, minorities, Ottomanization, the "golden age," foreign relations, the nature of modernity-- all from the perspective of food.


List of Figures


“Starting without Food: Fasting and the Early Mawlaw Order,” Nicolas Trépanier

“State Meets Society: A Study of Bozakhine Affairs in Bursa,” Iklil O. Selçuk

“Blending In and Separating Out: Sixteenth-Century Anatolian Armenian Food and Feasts,” Rachel Goshgarian

“The ‘Michelin Guide’ to Public Kitchens in the Ottoman Empire,” Amy Singer

“Ahmed I’s Hunting Parties: Feasting in Adversity, Enhancing the Ordinary,” Tülay Artan

“‘Mr. Turkey Goes to Turkey,” Or: How an Eighteenth-Century Dutch Diplomat Lunched at Topkapı Palace,” Joanita Vroom



About the Editor and Contributors


“Food is a looking glass through which one can view trends in culture, history, politics, religion, and human affairs. The six meticulously researched essays in this volume highlight food in exactly this light. They unlock new, if narrowly circumscribed, insights into Ottoman life through discussions of feasts, fasts, public and private dining, and food-based social interactions among various groups, ranging from royalty to the indigent poor. The essays’ focus on the region in and around Turkey may be attributed to the fact that they were originally presented during a 2007 symposium at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations. They may reflect but do not report on the broader Ottoman phenomenon, which included a heterogeneous blend of hundreds of ethnicities in a sprawling, geographically, religiously, and culturally diverse region. The essays touch on the dynamism of the Ottoman food experience, which included influences from the Mediterranean, the Far East, Africa, and Europe. Recommended.” — S. Hammer, Choice

Markus Wiener Publishers
Cloth: 9781558765139; Paper: 9781558765146